Learn To Play Guitar Online


With over 25,000 students served from over 70 countries, the leading presence in online music education is Berkleemusic.com, part of the world-famous Berklee College of Music.
Most students are "working professionals who make either a portion of their income in the music industry or have always dreamed of studying at Berklee," said Debbie Cavalier, dean of continuing education.
Berkleemusic offers a wide range of 12-week courses which can be taken towards accredited college-level certificates that can propel students into career changes and coveted industry jobs ($1,095 per course), or taken non-credit ($895 per course) just for fun.
Because professionals often have other priorities, Berkleemusic provides reasonable accommodations for students who fall behind. "Adult learners have busy lives -- business trips happen, kids get sick -- and often the first thing to go is the thing they want to do," says Cavalier. "We have a very robust approach to retention -- we can either get them back on track or get them into another semester."
For students with at least one year of playing experience and some basic knowledge of theory, Guitar Scales 101 and Guitar Chords 101 are the two recommended starting points. Guitar Chords is also a prerequisite for Jazz Guitar and Rhythm and Groove Guitar. Other courses include workshops in Blues, Classic Rock, and Getting Your Guitar Sound, which focuses more on the gear and effects than the guitar itself. The college-level courses require a daily commitment of one or two hours per day.
Each week, a new lesson is posted to the class intranet containing video segments, interactive Flash components, descriptive text and graphics, PDF scores, and MP3 downloads. Because you can't race ahead, you're encouraged to spend your time honing the current lesson. And if it goes too fast, you have full access to the course materials for an entire year.
The Guitar 101 lessons include about 5 to 10 minutes of video per week. "Since we're serving a global audience, we have to be very mindful of connection limitations that people have all over the world," explains Cavalier. "We always build to the lowest common denominator, so that we ensure that everyone can have the optimal experience."
The lessons also include "Great Performance Examples," with licensed excerpts and sheet music from artists including (in Guitar Chords 101) AC/DC, the Beatles, James Brown, and Miles Davis.
Students use Audacity (free download) or other audio software to record their own performances over a backing track and then post the resulting files to the class intranet for review by a faculty member. The faculty and peer review makes for a powerful motivator otherwise absent in self-study from DVDs and books. Weekly text chats also add "face time" with the instructor, and that capability will soon be upgraded to audio/video chats with a whiteboard, according to Cavalier.
Private Lessons, Anyone?
PrivateLessonsPrivateLessons.com has a directory of music instructors near you. Enter your city or area code for a list.
LearnLicksLearnLicks.com works like YouTube for guitar lessons. Instructors can upload short videos as a free sample of what you can learn if you studied with that person one-on-one, either via webcam or in person. Incidentally, YouTube also has plenty of guitar lessons, although quality is harder to find unless you know exactly who you're looking for.
ISMFAWould you rather outsource your instruction? The International School of Music and Fine Arts, Prague uses Skype with video to teach music lessons in guitar and other instruments from "the city of Mozart and Dvorak." Lessons start at 10 Euros per 30-minute individual class, purchased in a package of three lessons via bank transfer.
Cover Me
Some artists inspire imitation, while others invite it.
StevieSnacksStevieSnacks.com is devoted to teaching the blues stylings of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Currently with 38 lessons at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, samples are free; added details, tab, and high-definition video cost $2 to $5 per lesson.
BreakDownWayJorma Kaukonen, founder of The Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, is the guiding presence for the Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp and for BreakDownWay.com ($29.99 per month), an online video site where Jorma and friends teach you how to play their songs. Break Down Way doesn't provide sheet music or tab, suggesting that "it will indeed serve to make one a more prolific musician if forced to develop the ear." As you follow along you have to rely on Twister-style instructions ("play the 4th fret on the 3rd string, a B") in the video player as you watch and listen to Jorma in action.

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